WATCH: David Cameron says he is ‘haunted’ by decision to hold EU referendum

Posted On: 
16th September 2019

David Cameron has admitted he is “haunted” by his decision to hold the EU referendum.

David Cameron admitted to 'huge regrets' on how the EU referendum went
Credit: 
ITV

The former Prime Minister said he feels responsible "about the state the country’s got into" since the 2016 Brexit vote.

In his first TV interview since quitting Number 10 in the wake of the referendum, he told ITV's Tom Bradby he had "huge regrets" about the 52%-48% vote to leave the EU.

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But he insisted he had been right to call the referendum in the first place.

Mr Cameron said: "I’m deeply sorry about all that’s happened. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about all the decisions I made and all that has followed.

"But when I go back to that decision, that Britain’s position needed to be sorted and we needed a renegotiation and a referendum; I believed then that was the right approach."

Asked whether it was“haunting” him, the ex-Tory leader said: “Yeah, of course. You know, this is a huge decision for our country, and I think we’ve taken the wrong path.”

Adding: “If you’re asking me; do I have regrets? Yes. Am I sorry about the state the country’s got into? Yes.

“Do I feel I have some responsibility for that? Yes. It was my referendum; my campaign; my decision to try and renegotiate.

“And I accept all of those things and people, including those watching this programme, will have to decide how much blame to put on me.”

But he said a referendum on EU membership “had become inevitable”, although he admitted his “attempt to solve this problem failed and decisions I made perhaps contributed to that failure”.

'I DIDN'T THINK IT WAS WHO THEY WERE'

In the interview with Tom Bradby ahead of the publication of his book later this week, Mr Cameron again criticised Boris Johnson, saying “he thought that the Brexit vote would be lost but he didn’t want to give up the chance of being on the romantic, patriotic nationalistic side of Brexit”.

He said: “Minutes before he went out to explain why he was going to be on the side of Brexit, he sent me a text saying, ‘Brexit will be crushed like a toad under the harrow’.

“But I can only conclude that - he’d never argued for it before; he thought it was going to lose and that’s why he made the choice.”

He repeated his attack on Mr Johnson and Mr Gove for their comments during the EU referendum campaign, saying the things they signed up to were “deeply depressing because I didn’t think it was who they were”.

And he said the new PM was not right to suspend parliament, saying: “We’ll wait for what the courts say. I don’t think, it was illegal.

“It looked to me, from the outside, like rather sharp practice of trying to restrict the debate and I thought it was actually from his point of view probably counterproductive.

“In the end, we have to work through parliament, and you can’t deny the arithmetic of parliament and the majorities there are in parliament.”

And he said it was a “disastrous decision” to take the whip away from 21 Conservative MPs, adding: “I hope that Boris will get a deal in Brussels, he will come back, try and bring parliament together to back that deal.

“I don’t see why those 21 people shouldn’t be restored to the Conservative whip. If they’re not, I really worry about what could happen.”

 Mr Cameron also confirmed he would never return to frontline politics, saying: “I love this country. I care passionately about what happens.

“But I think the idea of going back to frontline politics is not going to happen, nor should it.”